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February 16, 2015 at 9:42 AM

Seahawks gearing up for NFL Combine

The Seahawks, like everyone else in the NFL, will turn their attention this week to the NFL Combine in chilly Indianapolis.

It begins Tuesday and runs through next Monday. I’ll be there this week, as well. Coaches, players and other team and league officials will be available for media interviews Wednesday-Saturday (Seattle coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider are among those who will meet the media). On-field workouts run Friday-Monday.

How much the Combine matters is a topic of endless — and likely unsolvable — debate. While the workouts (here’s a list) get the most media and fan attention, it’s often the interviews — and the physicals that are given — that may be most important to the teams. That also may be the Combine’s greatest value is that teams can talk to all of the players in one setting.

Teams can bring in players for workouts of their own later, and also can look players over at Pro Day, all of which aids in the final decision. It’s always tempting to try to read into comments later about what meant the most, to then try to figure out what a team might do in the future. But team officials know that game is being played, as well, and inevitably parse their comments (FWIW, the recent Seattle draftee who may have most helped himself at the Combine is probably Bruce Irvin).

As much as anything, the Combine serves as sort of the official beginning of draft season, kicking off the two-and-a-half months of hype and speculation that culminates in the draft itself, this year held April 30-May 2.

The two local Pac-12 schools will be well-represented at the Combine, with Washington sending four players — CB Marcus Peters, LB Shaq Thompson and DLs Hau’oli Kikaha and Danny Shelton — and WSU three (QB Connor Halliday, WR Vince Mayle and DL Xavier Cooper).

NFL.com’s Combine page is a good place to track everything as is NFLCombine.net.

As for the Seahawks, as we detailed last week, the team could have as many as 10 picks, barring trades, which are probably inevitable.

You’ve heard Schneider say on several occasions in recent weeks that the team started its off-season process early than last season, when he said he felt the team had sort of a time crunch due to participating in the Super Bowl. “It got in the way of our preparation,” said Schneider, who made clear he wasn’t complaining, just noting that it was a new experience for the organization.

The Seahawks held their free agency meetings in December, Schneider said, and held draft meetings while at the Super Bowl.

As we’ll also detail over the coming weeks and months, this looms as a particularly critical draft for the Seahawks. Obviously, they sort of all are. But a case could be made that this one is particularly big given where the Seahawks are, with a still-young core in its prime, but having lost some depth the last couple of years and coming off two drafts that so far have not yielded the same kind of star power as did the first three of the Schneider/Carroll era.

With some of the depth having been lured away, and the team’s uncommon salary cap flexibility due to Russell Wilson’s situation now ending, the Seahawks need a strong draft to replenish the overall talent base.

It’s worth reminding that the NFL free agency period begins March 10, and that also could answer some questions for Seattle, or at least make it a little more clear what areas the Seahawks need to address in the draft. We’ll continue to address all of that as the off-season kicks into another gear this week.

 

 

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